Friday 20 July 2018

Yaya Toure bids farewell to Manchester City on record-breaking night

The Ivorian played his final home game for the club in the 3-1 win over Brighton.

Yaya Toure made his final home appearance for Manchester City against Brighton
Yaya Toure made his final home appearance for Manchester City against Brighton

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Yaya Toure bade farewell to the Etihad Stadium as champions Manchester City set a hat-trick of Premier League records in a routine 3-1 win over Brighton.

Veteran midfielder Toure was made captain for his final home appearance and goals from Danilo, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho, cancelling out a Leonardo Ulloa effort, ensured he finished on the winning side.

Records tumbled as City took their goals tally for the campaign to 105, their points total to 97 and their number of wins to 31, eclipsing previous best marks set by Chelsea.

Leroy Sane also shone, setting up all three goals, but the occasion belonged to Toure as the club celebrated the Ivorian’s outstanding service over the past eight years.

Toure was recalled for his first Premier League start of the season and regular captain Vincent Kompany gave up the armband for the night.

He played 85 minutes before leaving to a huge ovation having been in the thick of the action throughout. Like the Toure of old, he frequently looked to drive City forward or pick up possession on the edge of the box. He was urged to shoot from early on as the fans longed for a farewell goal but that was not to be, despite a late chance.

It was Ilkay Gundogan who had the first opportunity, having a shot blocked by Shane Duffy and the German also curled another effort wide.

Brighton threatened when Anthony Knockaert drove a shot wide but City claimed a deserved lead when Sane drove forward and released right-back Danilo with an inch-perfect pass. The Brazilian raced in on goal and coolly tucked home.

Brighton quickly responded but they benefited from an error by Claudio Bravo, who like Toure and Danilo had been brought in for a rare start.

Bravo came out of goal but lost the ball under pressure from Davy Propper, who promptly crossed for Ulloa to head in the equaliser.

Gundogan put another chance over as City hit back and Toure teed up Gabriel Jesus with a vintage driving run but the striker lashed into the side-netting.

City reclaimed the lead by scoring their record-breaking 104th goal of the season just before the break. Sane, who moments earlier tested Mathew Ryan himself, cut the ball back for Silva and he took one touch inside before drilling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Bravo had another moment to forget early in the second half as he spilled a shot from Jose Izquierdo and the ball rebounded awkwardly off Danilo but City escaped damage.

The game had an end-of-season feel for most of the second half but City claimed a third goal after 72 minutes when Gundogan took a short corner and Sane pulled back for Fernandinho to power past Ryan.

Toure had a chance to finish with a goal after a powerful run and neat exchange with Sane but Ryan coped easily with his shot. It proved his final action before being replaced.

City were not quite done and Danilo hit the bar with a late free-kick.

Press Association

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